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Monday, June 10, 2019
Three Rosés for Summer 2019 at O'Brien's
Dive in as prices tumble!
Dive in as prices tumble!
She laid take out on the coffee table
Prepped the dishes poured a glass of wine
Turn down the sound and move a little closer
Here for the moment everything is alright
(from Bon Jovi's "Because We Can)
This rosé from the south of France, with an American accent, really comes into its own on the palate, a delicious melange of flavours, fresh and fruity and acidity enough, followed by a light and lengthy finalé. A superb aperitif and probably excellent too with finger food, seafood and salads. One for the back garden (no pool to dive into, alas) in the months ahead.
It is a collaboration between renowned France winemaker Gérard Bertrand and Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse, hence the American name. It was voted Wine Spectator’s top rosé last year. This appearance in Ireland is thanks to O’Brien’s. It comes with an almost clear robe, the merest blush of colour. Floral and fruity elements feature in pleasing aromas of moderate intensity.
It is produced primarily from the Grenache grape though other Mediterranean grapes, such as Cinsault and Mourvedre, are also in the blend, all selected by Gérard Bertrand. Particular attention is paid to the pressing to ensure that only the first, highest-quality juice is kept. Highly Recommended.
Bodegas Tandem Rós Rosado Navarra (DO) 2018, 13.5%, €12.75 on offer (June 10th-July 21st), was 16.95.
Quite a few words on the label here: Alicia and Lynne, Navarra, Native Garnacha, Hand Farmed, Hand picked, Wild ferment, concrete tanks, force of nature, Artisanal, vegan.
They tell you most of what you need to know. Alicia and Lynne are the wine-makers, Alicia from Tandem and Lynne from O’Brien Wines. O’Brien’s are very happy with the part played by their very own Wine Director Lynne Coyle (Master of Wine) in this “delicious little rosé using natural wild yeast". It was produced in Navarra in the north of Spain and Garnacha is the grape here.
Force of Nature hints at the overall process, they worked “without technology”. It is also the name of a thriller by Jane Harper that I’ve just finished. The book, like the wine, is Very Highly Recommended!
It has a salmon colour. A very pleasing aromatic bouquet and an equally pleasing presence on the palate, fruity for sure (strawberry prominent), persistent too. I like this one, the introduction and the while handshake, start to finish. A very attractive wine, even more so at the reduced price. Very Highly Recommended.
Another famous name on this bottle, that of renowned French wine family J-M Cazes. This rosé though comes not from Bordeaux (where they have owned Chateau Lynch-Bages since 1939) but from another of their vineyards in the Languedoc.
So, L’Ostal is from the south of France, the source of many of those rosés that we know and love. It has somewhat less flavour than the Rós which also has a longer finish. This though is a lighter wine, a drink anytime kind of wine. Try it with a salad in the back-garden at lunch-time (check the forecast!) and you’ll be delighted with it.
Made from Syrah (50%) and Grenache, it is quite a pale pink, though its colour has more substance than the Hampton Water. It has been macerated (soaked) for a very short time on the skins to create this modern blush effect. The aromas too are delicate and also complex; concentrate and you may find pomegranate and rose petals there. The strawberry flavours are restrained but nothing wrong with that. It is fresh and supple in the mouth, refreshing with a slightly fruity, slightly sweet finish. Highly Recommended.
Not that easy to pick a winner. Each of the three has its own character. So it's down to personal taste and you won’t go wrong with any of the three. My first instinct is to go with the Rós, my second is to call for a 3-way replay! Oh, by the way, virtually every rosé in O'Brien's is reduced by 25% in the O'Brien's summer promotion that runs from now until July 21st. We'll take a look at the whites and the reds on offer soon.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
La Jara Rosato Frizzante Veneto (IGT) NV, 10% abv, €12.95 Karwig Wines GOOD VALUE
This frizzante is an organic wine, a special cuvée. No mention of Prosecco on this bottle though the grape is the Glera which is used in the region to produce the famous Italian drink, both spumante and frizzante. The cork is secured with string and this confuses some people, confused me up to a few years ago. There is a helpful diagram of a corkscrew on the top of the cork and you can easily open it with the regular one.
It is a very clean and bright pink in colour. There are very delicate aromas of strawberry and raspberry. Bubbles, except at pouring and for a short while afterwards, are scarce enough but do remember that this is a frizzante (semi-sparkling). There is a bubbly feel to it in the mouth and also a biscuity flavour along with some fresh and fruity berry flavours. This very pleasant wine is perfect as aperitif. Get in a few of these for summertime in the garden. Highly Recommended and good value too.
Domaine de Ménard Rosé 2016, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP), 12%, €12.25 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Tannat and the salmon pink colour has more depth than your normal rosé but with a bright sheen. Strawberry and floral notes in the aromas. No shortage of lively red berry flavours. It is fresh (harvest takes place at night) and full with excellent balance. One of the better rosés and Highly Recommended.
Serve it well chilled, they say, with Basque and Spanish cuisine. I’m sure we can come up with something Irish also. In any case, it is delicious on its own.
La Stoppa Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, Emilia (IGT) 2016, 7%, €17.06 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny.
The Malvasia di Candia aromatica is the fruit for this moderately sweet bubbly wine. Single fermentation is via the Charmat method (also used in Prosecco). Note that the ABV is just 7%. Ripe melon and notes of honey come through on the nose.
Colour is a light straw, lots of micro-bubbles cling to the glass. Not that many bubbles and not for very long. It is frizzante, not spumante! Easy drinking (not a hint of cloying), moderately sweet (like a French moelleux), honey and fruity and a good finish. Gone up, in my estimation, since the previous year, so now Highly Recommended.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Drinking Cider and Rosé
Long Meadow Oak Aged Cider 6.0%, widely available including from Bradley’s North Main Street.
Was introduced to this lovely cider by the producers during the recent A Taste of Donegal Festival. The McKeever family of Portadown have been growing apples at their Long Meadow Farm in the Orchard County of Armagh (anyone remember Bridie Gallagher?) for three generations and produce a range of craft ciders, pure apple juice and cider vinegars, one hundred percent natural.
What makes this particular bottle that bit different is that it has been aged in oak “enabling apple and oak to infuse”. It also adds a little bit of extra colour and is quite smooth and dry with a good finish. Well worth a try.
Some other craft cider producers throw their eyes up if you mention ice and cider in the same sentence. That's not the case with the McKeevers as they say this limited edition, indeed all their ciders, “can be enjoyed best over ice or straight from the fridge.” I enjoyed it straight from the fridge. You take your choice!
Domaine de Ménard Rosé 2015, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP), 11%, €12.25 Le Caveau
The last rose of summer? Maybe, but not the last of the year. I don't believe in confining rosé to the summer. It is generally a very acceptable aperitif at any time of the year and this Ménard is even more acceptable. Highly Recommended.
It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Tannat and the colour has more depth than your normal rosé but with a bright sheen. No shortage of lively red berry flavours. It is fresh (harvest takes place at night) and light yet somehow carries more aromas and flavour than many counterparts and has a good finish to boot.
Serve it very cold, they say, with Basque and Spanish cuisine.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Three Reds and a Rosé
Dadá is me daza!
|Dadá is me Daza|
Dadá De Finca Las Moras, Art Wine 1 2014 (Argentina), 13%, €10.99 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
This wine went down very well indeed at Our Table in Cork last Sunday night when 400 white-clad dinners enjoyed a three course meal on the street!
On the nose, it is vanilla, no doubt. You’ll also find Art Wine 2 and 3 but this #1 has had contact with medium toast American oak, hence the vanilla. They say this is “an artistic wine inspired by Dadáism, a cultural movement that began in Zurich in 1916”.
Art inspired or not, the vanilla remains a major feature on the palate, spice there too and soft tannins. Hard to discern by taste just what grapes are involved. But look at the back label and you’ll see that Bonarda and Malbec are used. It is an opulent blend. The winemaker has had a major say here and I admit I’m a convert. Very Highly Recommended.
Masi Campofiorin 2009 Rosso del Veronese (IGT), 13%, €15.99 (now at 12.99), Bradley’s Off Licence
This deep ruby red has aromas of red fruit, mainly cherry. Serious and rich are the immediate impressions as it reaches the palate, good concentration and some spice too, well balanced with lengthy finalé.
“Friendly at the table” the makers say and I couldn't disagree. On the label, in Latin, it says (Google translation, so beware), Nectar of Angels and Men. The angels have had their share, now time for mine. Highly Recommended.
It has been a success for Masi since 1964 and has won numerous awards. The blend is of three native grapes: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. And the appassimento technique - the grapes are dried to obtain greater concentration of flavour and aroma - is used here.
The Masi Masianco white has been Very Highly Recommended in a previous post.
Velenosi Querciantica Lacrima di Morro d’Alba (DOC) 2013, Marche Italy, 12.5%, €17.10 Karwig Wines
Just one variety of grape in this bottle, the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. Colour is a rather intense ruby and there are rich aromas of red berries, strawberries and raspberries, some cherry too and floral hints. Medium bodied and very smooth, it is fruity and juicy, easy drinking, with slight spice and just about noticeable tannins, all followed by an excellent finish. Very Highly Recommended.
Claude Val rosé 2014, Pays D’Oc (IGT), 13%, €12.25 Karwig Wines
Summer time, they say, is rosé time; never confined myself to just one unreliable season though! And certainly not with this excellent example from the Pezenas region of the Languedoc. It is a blend of three grapes: Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.
Colour is pink, of course; quite an arresting blush actually. The red fruit aromas are also attractive and there are floral notes too. Fruit is generous and it is very pleasant on the palate, lingering on and on. Approachable, easy drinking and fantastic value could all be applied here and the producers would have no problem with that as it was indeed their aim! Highly Recommended.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Loire Lessons #1
Jean Max Roger, Cuvee La Grange Dîmière, Sancerre 2010, 12.5%, €21.35 Karwig Wines
Will be heading off to the Loire later this year and thought I’d better get a bit of practice on the wines. Karwig’s have quite a selection, indeed a whole shelf full, and soon, with no little help from Emily, I had enough to start my Loire lessons.
This Rosé was the first and very pleasant it turned out to be. The immediate pressing of the Pinot Noir grape “gives a unique salmon colour, along with lightness, elegance and finesse”.
But, dare I suggest, it is a rosé with backbone. Maybe backbone is too strong a term. It sure has the pink colour of the salmon and I think I can safely suggest that it also some of its suppleness.
A very pleasant combination of colour, texture and flavour. A winner for me and Very Highly Recommended.
It is called "La Grange Dîmière" in reference to one of Bué’s ancient tithe barns which constitutes the oldest part of the winery. Bué is the family village.
|Bird on the vine|
* On the subject of the Loire, if anyone has any tips, not just on the wine, I'd be glad to hear from you!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR
With Rosé en Primeur!
Just got a Happy New Year card from the folks at Laurent Miquel vineyard near Beziers. Dominique is one of the signatories and she explained to me previously that the French spread out the New Year Celebrations over the first few weeks. No rush there then!
But you may want to rush out for an offer that Dominique also told me about. It is one where you pay less for your Rosé rose by buying it “en primeur” via From Vineyards Direct
Three years ago From Vineyards Direct launched what is now a traditional “en Primeur” release of new vintages of Pontet Bagatelle Rosé, raising a good few eyebrows by introducing pale pinks into what has often seemed to be the preserve of more ‘serious’ wines from a particular left or right bank.
Describing the rationale for selling Pontet Bagatelle rosé en Primeur, Esme Johnstone, co-founder of FromVineYardsDirect, said: “It is the best rosé from Provence, probably France, and the first 2011 rosé to be sold en Primeur. It is outstanding… We want our customers to be able to enjoy this wine without paying through the nose.”
The 2011 harvest at Château Pontet Bagatelle was ideal and, producer Garry Stephens describes the wine as “The best rosé we have ever produced at Pontet Bagatelle – an appetising pale pink colour with a nose that bleeds intense but restrained summer berry fruits. Good balance, acidity and a great finish. Just about perfect – I am thrilled”
- The wine can be purchased at the remarkable price of €51 in Bond. This is €45 less than the price of the 2010 vintage as fromVineyardsDirect have been able to purchase the majority of the harvest this year – and Garry wishes to thank FVD customers. This stunning Rosé will also be available in Magnums, Double Magnums and Imperials. The larger bottles add a touch of drama as well as flavour to any party, reception or wedding.
The prices in bond for delivery late April/May are as follows:
Bottle €4.25Bt or €51cs
Magnums or €9 or €54 cs(6)
Double magnum(300cl) €25 or cs (3) €75
Imperial (6oocl) €78
Queries to info(at)fromvineyardsdirect.ie
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Domaine Houchart 2010, Cotes de Provence Rose, 13%, Karwig.
|In Roussillon in Provence, built from stone from nearby |
ochre quarries, I bought the beautiful rosé below left.
Fair play to Karwig Wines. They are trying hard to keep the summer alive and this rosé will bring you a little sunshine from the Midi even if it is dull outside.
They have a great selection on offer and I was tempted by the Bandol (over a fiver off) but, having tasted a string of Provencal beauties this summer, I picked the Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence.
Marcus Gates was helping me make the choices and he says that the rosés have been flying this summer and the offer will continue for quite a while yet.
This vineyard is located in Puyloubic, a little village close to Aix-en-Provence, and has been producing “for more than 100 years famous rosé, red and white wines”. Not too sure about the fame of the village but rosés in Provence are generally good, even if not always famous.
This pale pink effort by Houchart doesn't disappoint. Nothing weak about this dry rosé as it roams the taste buds, exciting interest as it gently rolls. Nice sharpish flavours of white fruit that hit home.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
TAVEL (FRANCE) 2010 CUVÉE A LA PEINTURE, 14%.
Much about the featured painter, Daniele Buisson, on the label but not so much about the wine from Tavel. It is Rosé, as that is all they produce in this southern Rhone village.
The nose is slightly shy, yet aromatic. On the palate it is dry and the fruit, after a shy shakehands, begins to blossom and you find yourself sipping a smooth and flavoursome wine. Tavel wines are dry and tend to have more body and structure than most rosés.
Tavel promotes itself, not in a shy way, as the Best Rosé in France and it is certainly a contender. But there are many such contenders further south in Provence where virtually each wine village produces a very presentable rosé. I especially liked the one from Mas de la Dame.
On a recent visit to Tavel, I bought this Cuvee a la Peinteure. But they do have another ace up their sleeve and the helpful lady in the Vignerons de Tavel premises produced it, though not from under her sleeve! In my humble opinion, then and now, the Cuvee Royale was better and didn't cost a whole lot more. This may well be the best in France!
It is grown in a different part of Tavel on the smooth round stones also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is located east of the town in the direction of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Irish stockists of Tavel, not necessarily my tastings, include Power and Smullen and O’Briens
For more on my visit to Tavel, and the strange little animal I saw after lunch (and the tastings!), click here.